Carl Knightly is Chief Executive of our sister charity Faith In Later Life. He shares how the charity is working to equip the church to serve and empower older people
Before this coronavirus crisis, on Sundays when my family and I arrived at church, my children would run to our friend Betty, sitting in her seat waiting for church to start (she was always early) and they would delight in speaking with her. And after church I would take Betty her cup of coffee, we would exchange news and she would ask how she could pray for me, my wife, and my two children. Betty is a valued friend and wonderful Christian role model. Betty is also shortly to celebrate her 100th birthday.
Wanting to shine a light on more ‘Bettys’, Faith in Later Life was established in 2017 when five Christian charities, including Pilgrims’ Friend Society, came together. There was a shared sense that whilst churches often focused well on families and young people, this was sometimes at the expense of the older generation. And yet the Bible speaks of the value of older believers with Psalm 92 telling us:
…they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green.
Faith in Later Life exists to inspire and equip Christians to reach, serve and empower older people in every community through the local church, and to encourage older Christians in their faith.
On our website we have around 200 resources and articles, with over half free to print. And we have a network of over 100 ‘church champions’, through whom churches are able to stay updated with our work, share new resources, and encourage those around them.
And all of this feels even more important in the midst of the current crisis. Coronavirus brings challenges and pain, but the good news is that as Christians we have eternal assurance. As a body of believers of all ages, even if not meeting together physically as a church, we must continue to support each other, and reach out beyond. The free ‘Daily Hope’ phone line we are involved with, is one way we are doing that.
We recently wrote an article containing ideas for reaching out at Easter. As a result ‘Jane’ decided to invite her whole street to sing hymns in their front gardens, on Easter Sunday, followed by a cup of tea. 12 people joined in and a further 10 joined for a physically distanced cup of tea, and relationships are being built, and by God’s grace, seeds sown.
We exist because we want to see changed lives, older believers knowing their Kingdom value, and older people reached for Christ.
Would you pray that:
- More people learn of the resources we provide
- More churches would recognise the wisdom of so many older Christians
- Older people who don’t know Christ, and who are afraid, in these times, would know the love and mercy of our Almighty Father God
Could you help support older people by becoming a volunteer with Pilgrims' Friend Society? Find out about our new volunteer initiative here